The Cost of Following Jesus

The Time has Come…
This weekend as we gather for worship, we will mark two years of meeting as Harvest Church. It was Saturday, September 3rd, when we gathered for the first time in the Belcher living room for the purpose of worship. The question then was, Is there interest and need for other church in our area? After a couple of weeks, it became clear that God was indeed calling us to do something new. In the months that followed we experimented with worship. We set aside time for prayer and called everyone to go before the Lord asking for his direction. In the meantime worked on the details that needed to be hammered out as we pursued the idea of a church plant. Then, on January 14th, (I believe that is our official birthday) we received our paperwork from the state recognizing Harvest Church of Washington County to be a church of Jesus Christ.

It will be two years since that first evening. Two years since we started this long journey together. Together we have experienced God’s blessings. We have struggled through some difficult and painful discussions. And we have seen God open some new and exciting doors of opportunity. It hasn’t always been easy, but I don’t think starting a church from scratch ever is.

This past Sunday I asked the question, What’s changed? In your life, in your relationship with Christ, in your relationships with those you work, meet and interact with; what’s different now then two years ago. How have you changed because of what God is doing through Harvest?

As I thought about the question, on the surface, much has changed. But on the inside, in my heart, what has changed? For me, the biggest change I have seen is my desire and passion to see Harvest Church be used by God to change lives of those in our community. Yes, I thought this would be easier. And no, I never thought I’d be in this much need. But it’s right here in this place of need that I find a comfort.

You see, I do believe that we have been called to this place and time to do something amazing for God’s Kingdom. I do believe that Harvest Church was the work of God, pressed upon the hearts of our founding families to start something new, something exciting, something that would require enormous steps of faith for all involved. And I believe, like me, you to have been called to be a part of this journey.

That is why I am writing to you. I want to invite you to join me for the next 8 weeks of worship at Harvest Church. As your pastor, I have been charged with the responsibility to cast a vision for ministry; to develop a strategy that mobilizes the church to do ministry! Until now, we haven’t had much vision or strategy. We just want to see growth. But unless we have a vision and a strategy, a direction that moves us forward, how we will ever experience all that God desires for us?

Starting this Sunday, September 1, 2013, with God’s leading, I hope to begin to share with you a vision and a strategy that I believe God has placed on my heart for Harvest Church. This first, 2 week mini-series will challenge all of us, including myself, to consider our commitment to the church. Following this short series, we will launch a 6 week series that will help us shape the work of ministry that God has called us to. We will revisit some of our core values and foundational building blocks, as we look once again at the early church to evaluate our current ministry.

As you know, these recent months have been very challenging for the Higham’s. There has been much to question. We struggle with doubt, fear, and the unknown. But we are seeking God daily as we look to him, depending on him for every day needs. Even now as we experience a deep place of need, I believe that God is working in our lives, preparing us for something exciting and life changing.

As your pastor, I am being stretched, broken, and poured out like never before. I have been in tears, crying out to God for his help, his provision, and his direction. He has been convicting my heart, teaching me, and showing me how to better care for my heart as well as yours. He is renewing my passion to serve him while growing inside of me a new passion for the communities of Peters Township and Canonsburg. He has given me a vision that takes the church beyond what we think and want and is setting in place the events that will not only change the lives of people we reach, but change in us our desire to reach more people with the Gospel message.

I invite you to join me for these next 8 weeks, as together we ask God to renew in all of us, this call to be the Church we see in Scripture. I believe that we have come to the time and place where God is ready to pour out his Holy Spirit upon us as long as we are ready and willing to receive him! So come, join with me, and together let’s open ourselves up to all that God has planned for us!

Are you ready to be changed? I am.

In His Love and Grace,

– jay

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